One of my new tomato planters
A few years ago I made my own upside down tomato planters from fabric and wire baskets. They ended up working fabulously well and lasted for 3 seasons, but this spring I decided that they were looking a little worn out. Time for new planters.
I took three pails which I already had and drilled a one inch hole in the bottom of each. Then I drilled out a spot where there had once been a handle and used a coat hanger to make a new handle. I decided that the red color wasn’t right, so I spray painted them in a new moss green.
To place the tomato plants in the pail I first wrapped them with saran wrap, then gently poked them through the hole until they were safely through. I added soil and adjusted until the plants were at the correct depth. After adding more moisture control soil, I planted a wave petunia on top. Overall I think the new planters turned out pretty well and they cost me only $10 for the paint (which I could have done without).
- Drilling holes
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Canned and Ready for Eating
Salsa is one of my favorite things to eat during the long months of winter. It reminds me of all the good things I grew over the summer, and combines all of my favorite flavors. I love the zest of garlic, the scent of cilantro, the punch of the hot peppers.
I made my salsa as soon as I had 3kg of Roma tomatoes, even though I’m likely to get a bunch more in the coming weeks. Those will be for making tomato sauce, another favorite.
Here’s my salsa recipe (adapted from this recipe):
Blanch, peel and core 3 kg Roma tomatoes. Chop them coarsely then layer with a sprinkling of pickling salt in a colander over a pot. Let them sit overnight in a cool place, allowing much of the liquid to drain.
The next morning, start chopping. You can use a food processor if you like, but I prefer to chop by hand to get a chunkier salsa (with the exception of the peppers – those I use the food processor for).
Including the tomatoes, chop and add to a stock pot:
3 medium onions
1 large head garlic
200 g Serrano peppers
1 medium green pepper
1/2 medium red pepper
3/4 bunch cilantro
1/8 C cumin seed, ground
1/2 can (3 oz) tomato paste
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. It’s now ready to can. When canning, add 1 tbsp lime juice to the bottom of each 250 ml jar or 2 tbsp to a 500 ml jar. This increases the acidity and makes for safer water bath canning of tomatoes. Please refer to another website such as this for canning instructions.
Makes 2 liters of salsa.
36 carefully transplanted tomatoes
Today was transplant day, which means that I carefully moved 36 tomato seedlings to their new pots. This isn’t difficult, but it is tedious. Also known as pricking out, transplanting is an important step in growing plants from seed.
I started by filling three dozen three inch pots with sterile, slightly moist potting soil. Each pot needed a marker to indicate which tomato it held, so I cut 36 tags from a plastic yogurt tub and labeled each one.
After making a deep hole in the soil of the new pots, I carefully lifted each tomato plant from the bottom using an escargot fork (and you thought you didn’t have any use for an escargot fork?). I only touch the seedlings on their cotyledon leaves, as damage to the stem or first set of leaves can stunt the growth of the plant.
It’s really important to plant the tomato seedlings as deep as possible – this allows them to develop strong roots. I’ll have another chance to transplant them to a larger pot in about 3 weeks, and I’ll plant them even deeper at that time.
3″ pots ready for new seedlings
36 seedlings ready to be transplanted
Make a deep hole in each pot
Plant the tomatoes as deep as possible
36 carefully transplanted tomatoes
Back under the light
Toilet Paper Pots
I’m forever looking for ways to reuse things I have around the house when it comes time to sow my spring seeds. I use anything I can get my hands on from yogurt cups to take-out containers.
This year I decided to try making small paper planters from toilet paper rolls.
Each roll can be cut in half to make two planters – tiny little planters suitable for some of the seedlings I’ll sow last, like lettuce and morning glory.
Fold the tp rolls flat then again so that they become square-ish. Cut them in half then make a 1cm slice along each fold. Fold these slits as you would to close a box. Flip and fill.